Bay Area hip-hop is bifurcated: You’re either aboard hyphy’s yellow bus or delving into the veracity of “the message” whilst grazing through Roget’s Thesaurus. DJ Zeph and MC Azeem certainly fall into the latter category, but without getting too serious about themselves or anyone else. Rise Up provides attitude from the old school, before homogenized radio edits and chart placement concerns. Established remixer and producer par excellence Zeph fires up his 808 and 1200s to lay down funk and jazz cuts, Caribbean and Latin styles, and dub into a zesty groove, upon which playwright and slam poetry champ Azeem rides with his heady lyrics and deeper truth. Go smart!